By Stella Rossovskaia
Tremblant in my memory is a collection of the bright sparks of heartwarming moments . . . although Tremblant can be very cold at times. I remember the rays of early morning sunshine while gliding with friends on the perfect velvet corduroy of First Tracks. Skiing Tremblant is like a smooth dance that travels around the mountain’s perfectly groomed wide slopes with stunning views. “Rising and falling” like perfect waltz steps in a sparkling ballroom of blue sky and crystal chandeliers of snow and ice on the trees.
The name, Mont Tremblant, was derived from the Algonquin people, who called it the “trembling mountain”. “Climb every mountain”, “Edelweiss”, “Blue Danube” or other beautiful music is usually playing in my mind when I ski at Tremblant. These memories are of moments of love for life, dear friends, mountains, sunshine and the snow.
I remember finishing the descent of the mountain (on skis or hiking the snowshoeing trails) via Panache trails surrounded by the trees and chalets, crossing little bridges, inhaling the aroma of the pine trees and fireplaces. While skiing with our club’s expert instructors, I remember taking the deep dive on the St Bernard diamond run straight into the village, with the view ahead of colourful buildings, skiers & boarders lined up at the gondola and the vibrant après ski scene at the base of the mountain.
I saw a tiny picture in a travel magazine once of Tremblant and fell in love with the picturesque alpine village with the big snowy mountain. I learned cross country skiing in school and decided to go with the flow, travelling was my main inspiration. I joined the club 14 years ago to travel to Tremblant. In my first season I took a few downhill lessons, made many friends and that March I felt like I was flying on the Tremblant slopes, with a crew of happy beginners just like me.
That same year I volunteered for the Long Trips Committee. In my second year I lead a trip to Tremblant in March – perfect for spring skiing and to finish the season strongly after building my skills and confidence during the few months of winter.
Inspired by the people I have met in the club, and also by my favourite Cirque du Soleil, I organized an Après ski party trip with the theme “Tremblant du Soleil”. We watched a mix of Cirque du Soleil shows and Warren Miller movies on the bus, sharing jokes and laughter. At the party, a few members surprised us with their creative outfits, accessories and make-up. Seeing everybody’s happy faces after great ski days – priceless. Those moments of friendship are unforgettable.
The history of Tremblant as a ski resort has started as a one man’s dream. Joseph Ryan, an explorer from a wealthy American family from Philadelphia, who came to the region looking for gold in 1938 with friends. They climbed to the summit of Mont Tremblant with skis wrapped in seal skins for traction. After an exhausting trek to the summit, it is said that Joseph Ryan vowed to transform the landscape into a world-class alpine village. Only one year later, his dream was realized. In 1939, Joseph Ryan opened the Mont Tremblant Lodge and installed the first lift chair. The history of the resort includes rising and falling moments, ambitious investments and bankruptcies. The village we know now was developed by Intrawest, which expanded the pedestrian village with architecture reminiscent of traditional Quebec and built new ski lifts, including the gondola . Other changes included building the Grand Manitou summit lodge and a casino located at the base of the Soleil trails. Intrawest also transformed Blue Mountain and Whistler. Tremblant and Whistler have held the title of #1 Ski resorts in Eastern and overall North America, partially thanks to the beautiful and well planned villages.
HPSC has a long history with Tremblant. The club’s very first New Year’s Eve trip was to Mt. Tremblant to ring in the Centennial year in 1966-67. In the 1970s HPSC rented chalets in Tremblant (and also at Sutton and Blue Mountain).
I’ve been to Tremblant with the club many times. The most memorable trips being the 75th anniversary celebration of Tremblant and the year of our club’s 65th anniversary celebration. Some of the most precious moments for me are singing on the bus “Those were the days, my friends” – a song our members used to sing at the end of each day on overnight trips during the ‘60s and ‘70s; a tradition now forgotten, although remembered and shared with me by our instructors; as well as waltzing down and singing Blue Danube out loud and of course dancing.
Any Tremblant experience must include après ski at Place Saint-Bernard plaza with a live concert or DJ on stage in the spring and dancing at Le P’tit Caribou. We usually form a large circle on the dance floor and lead the dance starting early on and leaving just in time to rest before First Tracks the next day. The key is to dance until the point that you’ll be “steaming” when leaving Le P’tit Caribou on your short walk to the hotel.
We are living through trying times now, which brings out the best in people inspired with community spirit. By sharing our memories about the past and dreams about future happy moments with the club we celebrate life, elevate our spirit and generate positive energy to get through the last stages of this pandemic.
Cheers dear friends to future club trips to Tremblant and many memorable adventures. Our club will be always part of Tremblant history: View this wonderful video of the early days of Tremblant: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQpbthhZjv8
Stella, Long Trips Committee volunteer